“We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.”
~Kenji Miyazawa (Quote Garden)
Okay, I’m still working on transcribing the blog post I recorded during my walk yesterday. But I needed to get this out because it’s eating me alive.
The father of my older brother & sister died the other day. His visitation was Wednesday & his funeral was Thursday morning. I did not go to either one. He was my mother’s first husband, & I hardly knew him, but I wanted to go for them.
We have a complicated relationship. My older brother is as hermity as I am, if not moreso, & my sister is Mrs. Perfect. Tall, skinny(ish – she put some of her weight back on & it kills her), blond (fake), tan (fake), with three kids who are all in every kind of activity, & she makes more with some college & a part-time job than I did as a full-time MSW. (Why did I bother getting a Master’s in Social Work again? Even my brother with a high school diploma working in management at Wal-Mart makes more than I did when I was working. But I digress.) For various reasons, we don’t see each other or talk. We say hello if we see each, but we don’t call. I text her, but she never responds.
But all that is to say, I’m not really part of their lives, & I’m certainly not in their support network. But we are siblings, & they are now orphans – less than three years after losing our mother. Even if they didn’t need me, I should have at least gone by to pay my respects.
The moment I heard I became filled with anxiety. Sympathy anxiety because they lost their father & now they have no parent left, except their stepmother, but not sure what sort of relationship they have with her. She had two sons of her own when she married into their family, which I think tends to bring a different dynamic to step relationships. But most of what I knew about her came from my mother, who had a flair for the dramatic, & their father did beat her & try to have her killed, so I was never sure how much weight I should give what she said.
I also began having flashbacks to my own mother dying, which as you can imagine was very traumatic for me. It was very sudden, she literally dropped dead one day in her apartment, so I was numb for a bit, then I rebounded into this hopeful, living-for-momma phase. Then I fell on my ass in a deep depression where I stopped getting out of bed & lost yet another job.
The first Thanksgiving after her death I drove myself to the ER after dinner & was hospitalized for ten days because I was going to kill myself. I had planned to do it on her grave. I scare myself sometimes. I started cutting at my wrists not long after this trying to desensitize myself to it, so I could be less of a chicken & just DO IT one day. As much as I want to die I’m afraid of doing it.
I remembered my brothers & sisters at my mother’s funeral. My little brother sent flowers because he didn’t know if he should or not. Remembering him sheepishly admitting this ripped through me like knives & I nearly fell out during my walk (I got the message while I was at the park).
I don’t deal with things very well. I have some sort of hyperactive guilt reaction & stress always brings out my suicidal ideations.
The day of visitation I had every intention of going. I decided to go walk for an hour, then come home & shower, get ready, & go to the funeral home. When I got home from walking I needed to eat something. This led to sitting down. Sitting down led to not wanting to get back up. I just couldn’t make myself get ready & go. I promised myself I’d go in the morning before the funeral.
I went to be early so I would be ready to get up in the morning. Too bad I’ve never been able to sleep through the night. I found myself wide awake at 3:30am & feeling incredibly stressed, almost panicky. I ended up getting up & distracting myself by putzing around online for a while, then went back to bed & watched movies. I didn’t get back to sleep until after 6:30am. When the alarm went off I again couldn’t get myself going.
I tried everything to motivate myself, but the more I thought about going the more I visualized self-harm. Laying there thinking about going to the funeral home I fantasized about slashing my wrists & shooting myself in the head. After an hour of struggling with it, I decided I couldn’t take it anymore & I turned the snooze off & went back to sleep. I didn’t sleep much, but I stayed in bed until about 1:48pm.
I wish I would have gone. I feel shitty for not doing it. Not going was selfish. I know I would have been fine had I gone, albeit sad & anxious, & would certainly be feeling better about things now. (Though, when I push myself to go somewhere when my brain is telling me NO, I end up shaking, crying, & generally acting weird & avoiding all interactions with people.)
I’ve decided to send a condolence card & try for a personal visit, but it’s usually hard to catch my sister at home & with my brother it depends on his schedule. He’s usually either at work or asleep when I go by. From reading the obit it sounds like he’s gotten married & acquired two sons. But I wouldn’t know.
For the card especially I need to workout what I want to say. I want to be sincere, sympathetic, & express how sorry I am I wasn’t able to come by the funeral home. The last part is the tricky part because while I want to be sincere, I don’t want to get into the why, because then it just goes from condolences to whining about my problems. And isn’t that why I have this blog? Why I do believe it is! But I have this thing about needing to be honest, very honest, about things & so I feel pressured to explain everything in detail, or I feel it comes across like I don’t care.
So that’s it. That’s where I’m at right now. I feel like shit. Seeing my brother will be fine, but seeing my sister… I don’t know. Most likely she’ll be polite & I’ll feel at arm’s length, as though none of my worry or card or visit are appreciated, & it would have been the same at the funeral home. Depending on her mood, she might even be rude.
I never know what to expect from her. I think she has her own issues, but has built this cool, lofty, “perfect” exterior around herself. Their father was an abusive alcoholic. He cleaned up later in life after he ate up his liver, had a stroke, & survived cancer. I don’t know what got him in the end, but I do know he had been in the hospital because my niece told me she was staying with him at the hospital when he died. Putting on the perfection mask is typical of the families of alcoholics. My dad drinks too, but at least he just drinks till he falls asleep on the couch, instead of flying into drunken rages. Small miracles, right?
But anyhoo, I guess that’s all I have to say about that. Really needed to get it off my chest because it’s had my in some very unkind knots. I still regret not going, but it’s too late to change it now. Time to move forward & just choke it down with the other 36 years of regrets.
And something I thought about after choosing the above quote…
If the quote I used for this post is true, then my pain is fueling something that has a 500 gallon tank & gets at most one mile to the gallon. My emotional vehicle is a hummer. No, it’s a jet. It’s an F-18!
Is this what Charlie Sheen was talking about? Is an F-18 the emotional tank his pain is fueling for his journey of WINNING? (image used from Wallpaperbase.com)